Skip to comments.No evidence of U.S.-based threat found
Posted on 08/11/2006 1:41:49 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - Investigators have uncovered no signs of U.S.-based terrorists linked to a plot to blow up airliners headed to the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Friday.
"Currently, we do not have evidence that there was, as part of this plot, any plan to initiate activity inside the United States or that the plotting was done in the United States," Chertoff said, a day after British authorities announced the arrests of two dozen suspects.
The arrests led the Bush administration to put the U.S. on its highest threat alert for flights headed to the United States from the United Kingdom. Additionally, all other flights were raised to the second-highest alert level.
But Friday, Chertoff said his department was looking to adjust some of the new traveling restrictions they have barred many common carry-on items such as water bottles and toiletries to "somewhat reduce any additional inconvenience." He provided no details.
"I don't want to suggest that they're going to be earth- shattering, but we're going to move to try to make this as simple and as easy as possible, as quickly as possible," he said in a news conference at Reagan National Airport.
Even so, Chertoff cited the possibility of other terrorists or sympathizers, saying, "So I'm not prepared to let my guard down."
He said that over the longer term, officials would examine the threat involved in this week's plot some common chemicals, which combined can form a deadly explosives.
Officials will study "how we can calibrate our systems to take account of these developments, and then, with that in mind, try to ultimately come back to a regime of security that will give the maximum amount of freedom to the travelers," he said.
Earlier Friday, Frances Fragos Townsend, President Bush's homeland security adviser, did not rule out the possibility that some plotters may be in the United States.
"There are leads that the FBI is running," Townsend told ABC's "Good Morning America" during a round of morning television interviews.
"We are looking for connections between anyone in the United States and the plotters in the U.K., but we don't have any evidence that there is an active threat or cell here," she told CBS.
Though British officials have arrested two dozen alleged plotters, several suspects remain at large, including the suspected ring leaders of the London plot.
Hundreds of FBI agents tracked down leads around the United States in the past few weeks, but did not find any plotters in this country, FBI officials said.
The FBI is expecting the arrests and searches of homes and computers in England to generate another round of leads on possible U.S. ties. But there have been no arrests in the United States in connection with the plot, officials said.
Townsend said people should continue to fly.
"People ought to feel safe about traveling because of all the precautions we're taking," she said.
Details continued to emerge about the alleged plot, which officials said they had tracked for months. A congressman briefed by intelligence officials he did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the investigation said U.S. intelligence had intercepted terrorist chatter and British intelligence helped thwart the plot through undercover work.
British authorities arrested 24 people Thursday based partly on intelligence from Pakistan, where authorities detained up to three others days earlier. More arrests were expected, an official said.
For the U.S. traveling public, already heavy security restrictions got even worse. Thursday night, British Airways banned carry-on bags from all flights between the United States and Britain. On Friday, passengers in the U.S. were subject to a second security check at airport gates to prevent anyone from carrying onto planes liquids that could be used in an explosion, airline officials said.
Authorities said terrorists were only days away from carrying out a plan to blow up as many as 10 airliners flying from Britain to the United States. They were about to try a test run to see whether innocent-looking explosive materials could be brought on board, U.S. officials said.
On Thursday, Chertoff called the plot "a well-advanced plan" that was in "some respects suggestive of an al-Qaida plot."
A red alert for flights from Britain was the first since the color-coded warning system was developed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The decision to ban nearly all liquids from passenger cabins was reminiscent of the stringent rules imposed when planes returned to the skies after the 2001 attacks.
All other flights to and within the United States were put under an orange, or high, alert Thursday, one step below red but up from the yellow status that had been in effect.
On the Net:
Homeland Security Department: http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic
40 terrorists arrested in Italy
24 terrorists arrested in England
17 terrorists arrested in Canada
2 terrorists arrested in Ohio.
Move along. Nothing to see.
Don't forget the 21 students that went 'sight seeing' on their own.
Sorry. I meant 11.
There were 2 guys in Texas City working in their apartment with this explosive last month when it went off.
The story has bubble up again on local "radar".
And the two guys (at least one a confessed illegal immigrant with a driver's license from Michigan) from the Republic of George stopped this week in Pennsylvania with 14 prepaid cellphones, $4.2k in cash, a "gutted" van (no chairs or interior), and a laptop with GPS tracking software.
Or the 3 Pakistanis who eluded the "3" prepaid cellphone limit per sale by working together to collect up 1000 phones. Anything higher than 3 is supposed to trigger an alert.
They should try monitoring the prayers at the Mosques
Is the media trying to tell us there was no threat now???
The last 3 claimed they bought the phones for $20 each and where planning to sell them for $38 each, without chargers or boxes.
It's not illegal to own that many phones, so there isn't anything the government can do to them.
Beats me what the heck anyone is saying at this point. ;-)
But, of course, since the NYT has rendered our most effective surveillance methods null and void, we can't really know that, can we?
Don't forget the one who blew up outside the stadium in Oklahoma. (been a while back but it was TATP in the backpack)
I don't believe for a second that the terror cells that are here aren't plotting other atrocities.
Some "Aryan supporters" were also apprehended in Texas today with pipe bombs.
Wonder why we never hear about "muslim suprmacists" or the MMM?
Heard on the radio (Rush's guest host?) that was a false rumor. That we've been following it closely for weeks.
Wonder when the first Rat Senator is going to step forward to complain about the authorities letting it get "too close" to the plan going live.
Still the eeeevil conservative whiteman. Of course, no one whose skin is darker than fishbelly white could possibly be involved in acts of domestic terror. Just ask Morris Dees. /sarc